Like many thousands of Manchester United fans, I cannot wait for the day when the Glazer family sell up and go back to their many other interests in America because they have never been and cannot ever become genuine football people. There may be another side of the coin however that as unpalatable as it may be to most of us, could be worth having a look at. It must be made clear that these are purely personal thoughts, not necessarily shared by other members of the Truly Reds team.
The first reality that must be accepted is that football in 2010 is nothing like the game that most of us grew up with, not even as recently as a mere twenty years ago. We may not like it but it’s a fact of life. Football is now a made for television global game as shown by the recent World Cup in South Africa. The days of clubs being in existence primarily for the sake of local communities are long gone unless they are content to compete in small, parochial leagues.
Real is no longer simply a Madrid club, Barca does not only exist for the people of Barcelona, Inter represents more than the city of Milan and Manchester United is no different. To remain among the giants of the game, the traditional local club has no other alternative but to become a global brand and to do that it takes money, a massive amount of it.
The question therefore becomes one of where it’s best for that money to come from. It could be from a Russian oligarch who wants a toy to play with, a Middle East sheikh who needs to boost his ego, a local government willing to throw millions at its city club for political reasons as they do in Madrid or from an investor such as the one United is stuck with. The millions taken out of the club to help pay for the Glazers private debts is hard to stomach but let’s face it, that’s what investors do in the capitalist world we live in.
Most of the other complaints about the club owners centre on the huge increase in the cost of season tickets and the apparent lack of funds available for Sir Alex Ferguson to bring in the sort of big money signings that he used to do in previous years. Nobody enjoys being hit in the pocket as football fans increasingly are today but the £100,000 a week type of wages demanded by players in order to compete have to come from somewhere irrespective who the owners are.
That then leaves us with the question of money being available for player transfers. Both the club CEO and Sir Alex have repeatedly insisted that the funds are there whenever needed. Are they blatantly lying? Ferguson has been at Old Trafford long enough for everyone to know that he’s not afraid to call a spade a spade. It certainly would not be like him to look after his boss’ interests if by doing so he runs the risk of damaging a jealously guarded reputation of football’s most successful manager. Besides, at his age, why would he care about protecting a job that he will soon be retiring from anyway?
Maybe it’s not the Glazers that are causing the lack of transfer activity. Sir Alex may genuinely believe that what’s available on the market with the costs involved in transfer fees and wages does not justify holding back some of the talented youngsters he has at his disposal. Either that or he has simply lost the plot, a possibility which like so many others, I would not be prepared to bet upon.
The bottom line is that the Glazers may not be the best owners Manchester United can possibly have but the truth is that some sort of investor is a must if the club is to remain a global giant. Investors buy into a business in order to make money so whether we like it or not, we may be just as disgruntled with anyone who may replace them if and when the Glaziers are finally gone.
Disappointed? Not what you wanted to hear? Sorry, that’s about as blunt as it can possibly get! I may be way off the mark here but I have no doubt that you will let me know if I am.
What’s your major objection to the Glazers ownership of Manchester United?